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Ernest A. Ellestad


1925 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Ernest A. Ellestad Obituary
Ernest A. Ellestad 1925-2017

Ernest Ellestad passed away March 28th at his home in Palos Verdes. He was 91. Ernie was born October 30, 1925, and raised in Coalinga, California, a small town in the central valley where his parents were teachers and his father also served as the superintendent of schools.

After graduating high school in 1942, in rapid succession he entered the Navy's V-12 program, earned an engineering degree at Southern Methodist University, and was commissioned into the Navy. He served on a sub chaser in Panama, transiting the Panama Canal 13 times. Released from the Navy in 1945, he returned to California where he earned an MS degree in aeronautical engineering at Stanford University. Ernie joined the Northrop Corporation just shy of his 22 birthday and he worked there for over 35 years on many programs including the Boeing 747, the YF-17 and F-18 fighters, and the B-2 stealth bomber.

He met Eunice Fellhauer in 1949 when he was invited to Thanksgiving dinner at his cousin's home in Santa Ana. Eunice was impressed with both Ernie and his new blue Buick convertible and they married in 1951. They started a family in Westchester, moving to the Riviera with their three kids in 1955, finally settling in Malaga Cove in 1964. The Ellestads were active members of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Redondo Beach and later the Neighborhood Church in Palos Verdes where Ernie served as an Elder and Trustee, respectively. Over the years, Ernie and Eunice sponsored refugee and immigrant families, as well as international exchange students. Ernie was a 25-year volunteer for Meals-on-Wheels, donated gallons of blood to the Red Cross, and was a teacher's assistant at the Malaga Cove School.

Ernie skied and remained an avid camper and backpacker throughout his life. He criss-crossed the Sierras with family and friends, climbing Mt. Whitney four times, and later made an epic trek in Nepal with his brother, George. He also had a true passion for both aviation and cars, and their related magazines and journals routinely filled his mailbox. Always comfortable with tools and machinery, he restored his father-in-law's 1922 Franklin and two 1936 Fords, one of which won him a coveted Dearborn Trophy. Ernie and Eunice were regulars at the Franklin and Ford clubs' car shows and rallies across the western US, and they also enjoyed swing dancing and jazz.

Ernie had a pilot's license and he and Eunice had several cross-country adventures. They also traveled the world to Europe, South America, Asia, the South Pacific, and the Mediterranean. Ernie's interest in WWII aviation once prompted a trip to the remote Midway Island with his good friend, Bill Hilker, whom he often joined for special events at the Western Museum of Flight.

Ernie was a good man, a man of faith and character who lived a full life. He is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Eunice, a sister, Margaret Ann Tune of Oakland, his brother, George Ellestad of Pearl River, NY, his three children, Boyd Ellestad (Carole), Bruce Ellestad, and Gail Donley (Mike), six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.

We are deeply grateful for the compassion of many caregivers who supported Ernie over the past months, especially Galdina, Ingrid, Luz, Israel, Jenny, Jesus, Maria, Alyssa, Mark, and others.

A memorial service will be held at 11:30 am, Friday, April 7th at the Neighborhood Church in Palos Verdes. Please sign the guestbook, www.dailybreeze.com/obits.
Published in Daily Breeze from Mar. 31 to Apr. 2, 2017
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